Interview with Matthew Smith of MasterChef Junior Live!
Posted on 02/20/2020
All Access had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew Smith, a New Jersey native, who is on tour with MasterChef Junior Live as a contestant from Season 7! Matthew talks about how he found his love for cooking at the young age of four, his biggest challenge on the TV competition show MasterChef Junior, and how he's found a new family within the MasterChef community! MasterChef Junior Live is here on Sun, March 8 at 7pm.
Read the transcribed interview below
with Kelly from All Access and special guest Matthew Smith from MasterChef Junior Live!
Kelly: And, welcome to All Access with State Theatre New Jersey. I am your host, Kelly Blithe, and this is the show that takes you behind the scenes and behind the curtain of the legendary State Theatre in Downtown New Brunswick. So we are very excited because on Sunday, March 8th, we are bringing in a show that is going to be one for all ages, you can bring the entire family. And I'm talking about MasterChef Junior Live!, Sunday March 8th, a 7pm show and with us today is one of the MasterChef Junior contestants whose going to be in the live performance on Sunday March 8th, who is also a New Jersey guy and we're talking about Matthew Smith. Welcome Matthew!
Matthew: Thank you! How are you?
Kelly: I'm so good! How are you? How exciting is this that you are on this live tour?
Matthew: I am so excited because I recently went on part one of the MasterChef Junior Live! tour and I had such a great time and I love meeting so many new people, and the experience is a once in a lifetime so I'm so glad to repeat it and in my home state in New Jersey, I mean what could be better than that?!
Kelly: [Laughs] Exactly! So Matthew, when people come to the show, what can they expect to see? What are you doing up on stage?
Matthew: Well, its based off the show MasterChef Junior, which is where the top 24 kids around the U.S. compete for the MasterChef Junior title. So the MasterChef Junior Live! tour is based off of that and you can expect lots of fun V.I.P. meet and greets, lots of fun and sweet and messy challenges, and the best part is that you might even get a chance to go up on stage and show everyone your cooking skills.
Kelly: Wow! I don't think I can compete with you Matthew, I'd be a little scared to compete with you up on stage. [Laughs]
Matthew: Well, it's all fun. What do you have to lose? It's a great time.
Kelly: Nice, Nice. So Matthew, I read somewhere that you were about the young age of four when you started getting interested in cooking. Tell us about that, how did this come about, this love of cooking?
Matthew: Well, I always loved the show MasterChef Junior since season 1, so it inspired me so much how to cook. I always had the dream to be on the show so it just really inspired me to just keep on cooking, and that's really how all of this came about.
Kelly: Nice. So when you finally made it to MasterChef Junior, that had to be so exciting, it was like a dream come true right?
Matthew: Yes. It was just so inspiring, and it really shows me, which is my new motto, which is "Dream it, Do it," because if you have a dream and you go out there, it's so set, anything is possible.
Kelly: I love it. That's just so inspirational. Now, when you were on the show, obviously you had all these different challenges. What did you think was the most challenging thing for you on the show to do?
Matthew: For me, the most challenging one was by far the tag team challenge because you have to work with a partner and that can sometimes be hard because you have to have a lot of communication skills. And although that was a really hard challenge, and I sadly got eliminated out of that, it was probably one of the best learning experiences on the show because it showed me how to work with a partner even better and it showed me how important communication is and it shows me how important it is to have your friends back no matter what you do in life.
Kelly: Nice. I love it, I love it. Now, do you still talk with some of your fellow contestants?
Matthew: Definitely! We have a big group chat and we love to communicate with each other because they are such good friends, and I can't even describe it we are all just such good friends. They are so nice and we all have each others backs and it's just a really really special bond that we all have that is really indescribable.
Kelly: Very cool, very cool. So Matthew, what is the difference for you when you are performing, whether you are performing on the television show versus the live show. What's different? Do you get more nervous in the live show?
Matthew: Well for me, I love the live shows because for me I love the energy. I love taping of course because you get to see all the cameras and all the behind the scenes, but what I love about the live shows is that you can feel the energy when they're announcing your name and you feel the energy from the roars of the crowd. Its just such a memorable moment and it just kinda psyches me up and then it's just so many fun memories so for me, the live shows can be a little more nerve-racking but a lot of fun too with the energy of the crowd, it's just everything.
Kelly: Nice, nice. So Matthew, are you still continuing to come up with new recipe ideas and continuing to come up with new things as you are going along this tour?
Matthew: Definitely! I love to come up with new recipes because although I may have succeeded with my dream of going on MasterChef Junior, I think no matter what you do in life, you can always get better.
Kelly: Nice, nice. So, I know that one of your favorite dishes used to be, I don't know if it still is, but that's filet mignon right? Is that still one of your favorite dishes?
Matthew: That still is one of my favorite dishes because what I love about it is that it is so simple to make. So anybody who takes the time to learn it, it's really simple, really healthy, really delicious, and the whole family can enjoy it.
Kelly: Nice, nice. So you must meet, especially with your motto, "Dream it, Do it," you must meet a lot of other kids just like you who are looking to become chefs, or go on MasterChef Junior Live!, what's your advice to them when you see them?
Matthew: Well, I always tell them, "keep up your goal," because it just brings me back to the memories when I was little and how hard I worked. I just tell them to "work hard and love what you do," because I always had this passion to be on it, and to actually be on it, it was a dream come true. So I really wanna make sure that they have fun with it and just be them and just enjoy the moment, then their dreams will definitely come true and they'll just have an experience that they will always remember.
Kelly: Nice. We are talking with MasterChef Junior Live! contestant Matthew Smith who is on the television show is now on the live tour, coming to the State Theatre on Sunday, March 8th, at 7pm You can get your tickets at STNJ.org. Now Matthew, I know that cooking is a hobby as well of course, and you do a lot of that, and so what are some of your other hobbies? Do you like to do some other things?
Matthew: I definitely do. I think that being a well-rounded person is always good because there's so many other opportunities. So I love to play sports such as basketball, swimming, and baseball. I also love to do crafts with my grandma. I love doing crafts because I love to imagine, I love how you can be so imaginative and we can really do anything with crafts. And I also love to play ninja warrior too, so I get lots of exercise, lots of fun memories, and overall a great time.
Kelly: Nice! Wow, you really are well-rounded. Ninja warriors? What's that all about? I don't know ninja warriors.
Matthew: So basically, it's kind of like between like the monkey bars and a little of parkour but not totally parkour, it's a little safer than that. It's kind of like monkey bars because it's kind of like a bunch of bars and you get to like jump and it's a bunch of fun obstacles that you get to do and what I love about it is that it gives you a great exercise so you can keep healthy and its also a lot of fun while you are doing it, so you the best of both worlds.
Kelly: Nice, nice. So you are all about healthy right? And eating healthy, and living a healthy lifestyle? What are some of the healthier meals that you have put together to help encourage people to eat healthy?
Matthew: Well, what I like to say is that just because you want to eat healthy, doesn't necessarily mean you have to say goodbye to sweets. So I love coming up with ideas to make your regular favorite desserts—for example, I'm working on cupcakes that have been made healthier by maybe using more natural sugar, or stuff like that because I'm all about that. Finding substitutes is great and you should love what you eat, so to eat healthy, it should be delicious and it should also be easy to make. I think that's my biggest thing.
Kelly: Nice. So when you were on the television show, what did you think was the best advice that you received when you were on the show?
Matthew: I think the best advice I received when I was on the show was that to make sure to take a deep breath and to really just take in the moment. It's just such a really cool experience, so if you just take a deep breath and your not stressed out, there's so many things to be stressed out about. If you have fun with it but still try your best, it's gonna be great because then your mind is more open and you have time to think of new recipes, and you are also enjoying yourself, so you get the best of both worlds.
Kelly: Nice. So I heard that the mayor in your town of Livingston declared June 17th, Matthew Smith day. That must be pretty crazy to have a holiday named after you.
Matthew: Definitely. It's really great, it's just so inspiring to me to say that I once looked at the television for MasterChef Junior and said "I want to be that," and to have a day named after me, it's like a dream come true.
Kelly: Nice. So do you do a lot of cooking in your town of Livingston? Do you do some events there while you are home?
Matthew: Yes I do try to do lots of events. I love teaching, I love doing cooking demos because I love teaching young people how to cook because I think it's a great trait to have.
Kelly: Nice. So when you are doing your cooking demos, give me a rundown of your cooking demos, like what do you start with? The basics?
Matthew: Yeah I like to start with the basics. You got to work baby steps to get really good. So learning the basics and getting on that healthy food too, so basic, healthy, easy to make so that the whole family can enjoy it.
Kelly: Nice, nice. So Matthew, we are so excited to have you for MasterChef Junior Live!, and some of your friends are going to be coming with you. Who have become on the tour, some of your closest buddies?
Matthew: Well, one of my favorite friends that will be going on tour with me, is Che who is the winner of my season and really all of them, such as Malia, Avery, who are all going to be on tour with me because they are all just so nice and we enjoy a special bond of cooking but also enjoy time together and getting to share this amazing experience together too.
Kelly: Awesome. Well, it is going to be an amazing show. It's MasterChef Junior Live! coming to the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Sunday, March 8th, 7pm You can get your tickets, they are going fast at STNJ.org, so make sure you check it out. You'll check out Matthew and all the other contestants. It's going to be so much fun, we got head to head cooking demonstrations, Q and A sessions, and some fun and sometimes messy challenges. So thank you Matthew Smith, a New Jersey resident for being on today's All Access and we look forward to seeing you March 8th!
Matthew: Thank You!
Kelly: Great! Have a great day!